How the Gender Gap in Pay Can Translate to Poverty in Retirement

The gender pay gap, multiplied by years of work, becomes a yawning difference in the golden years. And women tend to live longer, too.

Better Investing

We hear a lot about the gender wage gap. But what about the gender retirement gap? It exists, and the numbers are staggering.

According to Vox, the average man has a retirement account balance of about $140,000, compared with $82,000 for women, but “when it comes to investing for retirement, the financial difference between being a man and a woman spirals into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

On average, for every $1 a man earns, women earn 22 cents less — for the same work. That might not seem like much, but over a lifetime of earning, it quickly adds up, leaving women at a significant financial disadvantage, both in their working life and in retirement. Vox said:

Add on top of that the fact that U.S. women live nearly five years longer than men, and the retirement gap seems all the more yawning. Women simply need to plan for longer retirements, on average, but we systemically pay them less throughout their working lives.

Women are also twice as likely as men to retire in poverty.

Women 65 and older have a median income of about $16,000 a year, while their male counterparts get about $27,600.

“Women have lower lifetime income based on less time in the workforce,” says David Littell, who directs a program focused on retirement income at the American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. “As a result, they have less in savings, lower Social Security benefits – and they live longer than men. Those things don’t go well together.”

Check out “The States With The Widest Pay Gaps” and “10 Jobs With The Biggest Pay Gap Between Men and Women.”

Does the significant difference in men and women’s retirement accounts surprise you? What do you think should be done about it? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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